I have just re-read the great book by John McPhee, Assembling California, in which there is a whole chapter dedicated to how the Napa Valley was formed geologically. As I look out my office window at the western hills of the Napa Valley and the few scant acres that comprise the Rutherford Bench it is easy to marvel at the confluence of massive geological events, time and pure coincidence that conspired to make our 1997 Rutherford.
Converging tectonic plates, subduction zones, geosynclines, volcanic eruptions, huge alluvial washes and the five million years of daily weathering all for the single purpose of producing the unique gravelly loam soils ideal for cabernet sauvignon. Perhaps the surest sign of a wine of character is that it has the ability to transport you, captivate you and ultimately draw you back to its source of uniqueness.
The 1997 Rutherford, with its high percentage of cabernet franc, has beautiful aromas of blackberries and earth. The flavors are fabulous, full of igneous chirts, franciscan sediments and millions of old alluvial pebbles. This is truly a wine of time and place. -John Williams, Winemaker